Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm will produce quality films



By Judah Taylor, Kernel columnist

I am a nerd.

I admit it. I’ve loved “Star Wars” my whole life. As a kid, I often dressed in my father’s shirts pretending to be a Jedi. My brother and I re-enacted Obi Wan and Vader’s lightsaber duel from “A New Hope” more times than I can count.

As a college student, I smile at every time I hear one of Han Solo smart-aleck remarks, and my heart melts when he coolly replies to Leia’s confession of her love for him with a sly “I know,” before being cryogenically frozen in “Empire Strikes Back.”

I’m not the only nerd who yearns to visit a galaxy far, far away. “Star Wars” is to me, and millions of other fans, more than a movie. When George Lucas announced Lucasfilm Ltd., had been sold to Disney last week, no one quite knew what to think.

Opinions are more divided now than they were when one Jar-Jar Binks first hit the big screen.

Most fans aren’t really sure what to expect at this point and are understandably concerned about the future of the franchise. But fear not, “Star Wars” will finally have “post-Jedi” future that is worthy of the 1970’s classics. I’ll show you why, point-by-point.

“I find your lack of faith in Disney disturbing.”

If you’re worried about Disney getting overly involved in the movie-making process or making a movie that’s story is unfaithful to Lucas’ vision — stop. Disney has a track record of picking great directors and giving them the freedom they need while holding true to the story’s foundation.

Marvel has been running virtually independent of Disney since it’s acquisition but has been able to use much of the Disney Co.’s resources to their advantage. The result has been great movies. In particular, “The Avengers” has proven that Disney is willing to do their research and win over the die-hard “fanboys” by keeping true to the story’s origin, while coming up with fresh and fun material.

“These aren’t the writers you’re looking for.”

The prequels lacked the fun of the originals; they didn’t have Han Solo or Darth Vader. They had Jar-Jar Binks and Count Dooku. The galaxy is rich with potential, and new outlook from a new generation of filmmakers that grew up loving “Star Wars” could be exactly what the franchise needs.

Most agree that the best “Star Wars” movie is “The Empire Strikes Back,” and it was neither written by nor directed by Lucas; he only wrote the outlining story. He was equally hands-off with the successful sequel “Return of the Jedi” in 1983. In contrast, the widely criticized prequel-trilogy was both written and directed solely by Lucas, and his other projects, like “Howard the Duck,” have a reputation amongst the worst movies ever made, suggesting the best thing Lucas may have done for “Star Wars” since creating it is leaving it alone.

“Help me Kathleen Kennedy, you’re my only hope.”

According to a YouTube video Lucas posted last Tuesday, he will stay on as a creative consultant, and recent co-chairman of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy will head the department at Disney — which means the series is guaranteed to get a fresh outlook while keeping true to its origins.

Kennedy has been involved with films such as “Schindler’s List,” “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” and, more recently, “War Horse.”

She’s had her hands on tons of blockbusters in between, including sagas like “Back to the Future,” and “Jurassic Park.” She has also been involved with Lucasfilm since “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” If anyone can pull off a “Star Wars” film that isn’t Lucas, it’s Kennedy.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this … release date.”

Fans might be worrying that with an ambitious targeted release date of 2015, Disney might rush out a cheap film that will be over-hyped and ultimately disappointing, but they have no reason to.

Each “Star Wars” movie has taken exactly three years to complete, from writing to opening night. Holiday 2015 seems like a reasonable time frame for a release of a quality “Star Wars” movie, especially with Kennedy at the helm.

“Always tell me the odds … of the movie being good.”

In the same YouTube video, Lucas said they have enough stories to make great movies for the next 100 years, which isn’t surprising considering the “Star Wars” expanded universe boasts over 17,000 characters inhabiting several thousand planets, over a period of 20,000 years.

With such a rich source of material to draw from, the best studios in the world at their disposal, and trusted hands in charge, odds say the future of “Star Wars” is as bright as an exploding Death Star.

Perhaps the most pressing question fans could ask themselves right now isn’t whether or not Disney’s “Star Wars” will be live up to the hype, but if Princess Leia is now considered a Disney Princess.